Giving birth after the storm Eta: Courage of women!

“The child has already been born and is fine,” said Doña Suyapa, after the agonizing wait for the birth of her grandson Ithan, the son of Gissel, 27 years old, one of the victims while pregnant in La Lima, Cortés, Honduras .

It was thanks to the care of the obstetrician-gynecologist, Damary Castro, from the Salvando Lives project of the United Nations Population Fund, that the young woman received immediate attention in a hospital center, since her delivery was risky.

The young woman from Lima, a resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood, left her home on Wednesday, November 4, when the rivers began to break barriers with their strong currents, due to the passage of tropical storm Eta. “Nobody imagined it, we lost everything,” she insists.

The Honduran woman is the reflection of at least 12 pregnant women who sleep outside, on the ground, under improvised plastic and cardboard huts, in the median of the East Boulevard, in the municipality in question.

At night, rest is a utopia; they have endured the rains and the cold that soaks their bones, in the daytime they are threatened by the risk of vehicles that constantly pass by, the smoke that intoxicates their lungs, fear and sadness, all while they return to their homes wrapped in mud and bad odor.

BIRTHS ON THE STREET

In the middle of the street there were miracles of life: Three children -including twins- emitted their first cry among rags and garbage accumulated in the surroundings, since there was no time or professional monitoring for their mothers to be helped.

The only five health centers in La Lima are flooded, and most of the health personnel are also affected, like that of the municipality, and like everyone else in that place.

The stories are replicated in the shelters, and not far away, in San Pedro Sula, a 19-year-old girl was about to give birth with seven months of gestation; A painful and alarming bleeding that lasted more than three hours forced her to leave the José Trinidad Reyes school for the hospital.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was treated for a few hours. “Mommy, I want to churro,” her four-year-old daughter rebukes her, as she recounts how at night she suffers from pain in her back from sleeping on the floor; Access to beds and mattresses is non-existent in the emergency, but what strikes him most is the fear of losing his son after being left with nothing besides life.

The United Nations Population Fund has provided gynecological care to many women who are about to give birth.

RESCUE IN THE SKY

Hurricane Eta, a storm in Honduras, caused massive floods, leaving more than 2,930,000 people affected throughout the country, the disaster spread in nine departments of the national territory, with an estimated 761,800 affected women, 263,000 thousand female adolescents, 70,027 pregnant women .

These estimates allow us to calculate that in the next three months 2,232 pregnant women could experience complications in childbirth, some 5,000 deliveries could occur per month and almost 3,000 people would suffer a sexually transmitted infection. Furthermore, in this population there are 181,308 women with unmet needs in family planning.

A rescue call to the Armando Escalón air base warned that a mother with her six-day-old son was trapped and without food, at risk of dying if the water continued to rise, since she “did not have good mobility,” explains the Dr. Jason Erazo of the UNFPA Saving Lives Project.

Erazo, along with a doctor from the Honduran Red Cross, got on the helicopter and they flew to the danger zone, where a beautiful baby with long black hair and his mother were saved and they flew to safety.

Sanitary towels, an indispensable input

Women and adolescents in emergencies must have essential supplies for their health, such as sanitary napkins, for example, but unfortunately in the most affected areas there is a great need for them and they become among half of the affected population, in the most absent product, which makes menstruation torture for Hondurans at this time.

The shame that the stain of something so natural can be noticed, forces them to use toilet paper in the best of cases, and if there is none, they put on rags, not always clean, which can promote vaginal infections, in addition to the other diseases to which they are already exposed such as COVID-19, dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, among others.

UNFPA is responsible for providing women affected by the hurricane with a hygiene kit, which includes supplies necessary to meet the special immediate needs of women in times of emergency.

One of the victims of the lack of absorbent product is María, as she suffers from constant bleeding due to a urinary infection. Added to that, she is diabetic and HIV positive. Personnel from the UNFPA Saving Lives project identified her and made arrangements with the Ministry of Health to provide her with antiretrovirals. María, like many neighbors, are still on the street, as Hurricane ETA took away everything they had.

In many shelters, there is no essential product for women, such as sanitary napkins.

DATA

The situation in Honduras is an emergency at its highest level, saving lives implies prioritizing women and girls, UNFPA accompanies the Honduran government during the emergency in matters of health and human rights of women and young people, as well as providing essential supplies such as sanitary napkins and contraceptive methods that are often not accessible. In these emergency situations UNFPA is on the ground to save and protect the health and lives of women and girls.

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